Impressive! Now You can get your Shipments Faster at Apapa Ports

INSIDEMAINLAND– The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, yesterday commissioned the three newly installed NUCTECH mobile scanners at the Lagos port.

The scanners were purchased by the Federal Government through the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) as part of the service’s efforts to achieve faster cargo examination, faster cargo evacuation, and improved ease of doing business.

The Minister stated at the event that the commissioning of the three new scanners is a watershed moment in the Nigeria Customs Service’s efforts to facilitate trade and prevent port congestion.

The Minister also revealed that 120 NCS officers had been trained to operate the scanning machines and that the scanners would modernize the NCS’s operations in accordance with international best practices.

The scanners will aid in checkmate attempts by non-compliant traders to cheat the system, in addition to making auditing of transactions easier.

According to her, the current process of physical cargo examination is time-consuming, resulting in revenue loss for the government, and cannot be compared to cargo scanning, which takes minutes and has the capability of detecting prohibited imports concealed in cargoes.

She described the commissioning of the three new scanners as a watershed moment in the Service’s efforts to streamline Customs operations, improve ease of doing business, facilitate trade, prevent port congestion, increase revenue generation for the government, and strengthen national security.

The Minister assured that efforts are being made to obtain more Scanners for the country’s seaports, land borders, and airports.

Ahmed said, “it would be recalled that the Federal Government in 2005 contracted the provisions, installations, operations, and management of X-Ray Scanners and Computerized Risk Management System for the examination of goods on Build. Own. Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis, for a period of Seven (7) years to three (3) Scanning Service Providers (SSPs) namely: Cotecna Destination Inspection Limited, Societe Generale De Surveillance Limited, and Global Scan Systems Limited.

“At the expiration of the contract in December 2012, it was extended to a period six of (6) months which ended in June 2013. Subsequently, the Government entered into a Transition Agreement which terminated on 30 November 2013 and the NCS commenced the operations of the Scanners, however, upon the exit of the Scanning Service Providers (SSPs), some of the Scanners became dysfunctional which resulted in physical examination of goods by the NCS.

“This challenge, made the Government provide new Scanners at the three main Ports, in order to improve the examination of cargoes by the NCS.

“Furthermore, the current process of physical examination of cargoes is time-consuming, causing loss of revenue to the government and cannot be compared with the Scanning of cargoes which is carried out in minutes and has the capacity to detect prohibited imports that are concealed in cargoes.

“This process enables more cargoes to be scanned and brings about the desired efficiency and effectiveness in Customs cargoes examinations.

“I, therefore, implore the Management of the NCS to collaborate with the Scanners Contractor, to ensure proper maintenance and full utilization of the Scanners within the thirty (30) months provided in the Contract Agreement, as well as enhanced Capacity Building and Training of 120 NCS scanning officers.

The Service’s Comptroller General, Col Hameed Ali, stated in his remarks that the Service will be fully responsible for the management and operation of this equipment.

“Unlike previous attempts at managing scanners, our officers have been trained up to level 2 maintenance capability. This ensures that the day-to-day management of these machines will be proficiently handled by our officers who have been trained and certified by the manufacturers to carry out basic maintenance.

“We appreciate our partners the terminal operators, who have taken the pains to adjust their operations to suit the innovations of the moment. Our continuous collaboration will ensure that cargos are promptly delivered for scanning and evacuated from the ports as soon as they are certified to be compliant by our officers and other regulatory agencies” he said

Col Ali emphasized the importance of willful compliance with existing international trade laws, noting that the service is always ready to assist compliant traders.

“We know that this equipment will be of special benefit to manufacturers who import homogenous items in large volumes. We also know that importers of high-risk goods will no longer have any place to hide. So we are hereby putting recalcitrant traders on notice. They either change or be ready to face the full consequence of their actions” he warned

He assured that with the new scanners, the cargo scanning process will not only reduce the stress associated with container positioning, offloading, and inventory. It will save recorded images in a secure format that all agencies can access from the comfort of their offices.

He said further: “the challenge of security is of immense concern to all well-meaning citizens. Since we know that a good number of items that pose a threat to national security find their way through our various entry points, we believe that the equipment that is being commissioned today will greatly enhance our capacity to defend our dear nation.

“As we approach phase one of the e-customs modernization we shall see the deployment of scanners to all sea ports, airports, and approved land borders. We shall also witness the launch of a central data management system when live feeds from our ports and borders can be viewed and monitored from our headquarters”

The Minister praised President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for authorising the purchase of three new Nuctech Mobile Scanners for the service.

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